When I was younger, I didn’t like that I had Cerebral Palsy and went through years of self-hatred. I wanted to be like all of the other kids in school. I struggled to fit in. I didn’t have lots of friends when I was growing up. I didn’t get invited to lots of parties.
I wasn’t a member of the basketball or softball team in high school. In high school, sports were a huge deal. Not being able to play sports made me feel worthless. My peers didn’t treat academics with the same importance as athletics. I felt like I was on the outside looking in. I was an honor roll student and published a poem in the school’s literary journal my senior year. I was proud of my accomplishments in school, even if my peers didn’t acknowledge them.
Ableism made me question if I would ever live life like any non-disabled person would when I was growing up. I wondered if I’d be able to get a job, get married, and have children when I was older. I wonder if people think my disability would make me an awful spouse and mother. The possibility of spending the rest of my life alone makes me sad.
My readers are familiar with my struggles to become employed. It saddens me every time I see a rejection e-mail in my inbox. I’ve learned that employment doesn’t define somebody’s worth. Despite not having a job right now, I am still a valuable member of society. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work in the future.
Over the past several years, I have learned to live my disabled life to the fullest. I’ll never be a professional soccer player or a tennis champion, but I could be a coach. I’ll never be a physicist, surgeon, or the next Albert Einstein, but I could be an author, poet, news reporter, or teacher.
Disabled people, like all people, have their strengths and weaknesses in life. I may not achieve success in the same way as somebody without Cerebral Palsy, but it doesn’t make my life’s journey any less meaningful and enriching.
I enjoy my disabled life and try my best to live each day to the fullest. Cerebral Palsy does make every day a challenge, but I love life. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a caring, supportive, community of friends, family, and professionals. I am blessed to have the support that I’ve had and am thankful for everyone that has helped me along the way.